News


From the editor's desk: Technology trends for 2020

February 2020 News

Since no objective rules exist for determining the next big thing, prophesy-style articles are simply the opinion of their authors, and contradictory views abound. The market for commodities is a good example with both bullish and bearish price forecasts in evidence for 2020, all supported by convincing arguments. By contrast, the articles I’ve seen so far on industrial technology trends for the year ahead stand out due to the ubiquity of view shared by all commentators – digitalisation is on the rise.

Since digital transformation is an evolutionary concept, it might be useful to pause for a moment and review the current status quo. Over the last few years, digital transformation has shifted its primary focus from digitisation to digitalisation.

Digitisation involves creating digital versions of previously analog data, such as replacing paper-based work orders with digital versions and replacing legacy analog control and field instrumentation systems with digital counterparts. Digitalisation, on the other hand, involves using digital data and technologies to make work processes more efficient: for example, utilising data from a digital work order to improve maintenance scheduling and execution, or using digital twins to improve engineering processes.

By definition then, digitalisation is a <multi-faceted methodology and some aspects can be expected to gain traction faster than others. These are the ones that are forecast to go mainstream in the very near future. Digital twins and open automation technology are two to watch.

According to ABB, digital twins for measurement devices will become more common in 2020 and the focus will be on optimised engineering, production and maintenance processes. The perceived benefits will accrue from increased ‘right first time’ outcomes through improved process performance modelling, as well as a comparison between ideal and actual performance. Through AI (machine learning) algorithms, anomaly detection will allow abnormal operating parameters to be detected early, before costly defects in product quality or equipment failure bring the line to a halt.

See ‘Two ABB experts predict measurement trends for 2020’ for more.

On the matter of open systems, the Open Process Automation Forum is in the process of developing technology standards that support interoperability, avoid technology obsolescence and deliver added business value. The basic idea is to reduce the cost and effort required to integrate monitoring and optimisation applications, without losing the real-time determinism provided by modern process control and platforms. Proof-of-concept systems recently showed the viability of these ideas and forecasters expect to see workable products entering the market in the foreseeable future. Since this initiative is driven through an end-user consortium that includes the calibre of ExxonMobil, Aramco, BASF, ConocoPhillips, Dow, Georgia-Pacific, and Linde, it will be interesting to see how the big automation vendors adapt. The ARC Advisory Group is close to the progress being made through this ground-breaking initiative and interested readers can find more detail in ‘’Technology trends to follow for 2020’.


Steven Meyer

Editor: SA Instrumentation & Control

steven@technews.co.za


Credit(s)



Share this article:
Share via emailShare via LinkedInPrint this page

Further reading:

Cable, components and critical space exploration
February 2021, ABB South Africa , News
ABB provides Ty-Rap cable ties for NASA Mars 2020 Perseverance Rover mission.

Read more...
Success for NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL)
February 2021 , News
maxon congratulates on the successful Mars landing of the Perseverance rover.

Read more...
ABB sensor onboard SpaceX rocket to detect greenhouse gas emissions
February 2021, ABB South Africa , News
An optical sensor manufactured by ABB was deployed with the successful launch of satellite Hugo from GHGSat, the emerging leader in greenhouse gas sensing services in space.

Read more...
Eye-openers for the process industry
January 2021, Endress+Hauser South Africa , News
For a long time, Industry 4.0 was little more than a vision. Now, the benefits of digital services are becoming apparent in real environments.

Read more...
40 years of innovation
January 2021, Beckhoff Automation , News
Founded 40 years ago, Beckhoff Automation’s anaging director and founder, Hans Beckhoff, talks about the company’s many achievements.

Read more...
CSIR and Siemens partner to boost the South Africa’s 4IR competitiveness
February 2021, Siemens Digital Industries , News
South Africa’s pursuit of being a key player in the Fourth Industrial Revolution received a massive boost as the CSIR and Siemens South Africa entered into a partnership to empower the country’s economy.

Read more...
Parker presents first 'Expert Insights' tech talk on routes to carbon zero
February 2021, Parker Hannifin - Sales Company South Africa , News
Parker Hannifin will present the first in a new series of “Expert Insights” tech talks on Thursday 4 February.

Read more...
Obituary: Chris du Plessis: 14 June 1959 – 12 January 2021
February 2021, SA Gauge , News
Chris started a company called Techniman in 1986 selling other companies’ products, but in 1992, Chris and his wife Judith founded SA Gauge.

Read more...
Erratum
February 2021, Valve & Automation, Technews Publishing (SA Instrumentation & Control) , News
     

Read more...
Danfoss ushers in the digital sensor age
February 2021, Danfoss , News
With the adoption of an ever-growing digital world, Danfoss Industrial Automation has repositioned itself as Danfoss Sensing Solutions, representing the union of application-driven sensor technologies and unparalleled commitment to helping customers navigate their journey into the digital frontier.

Read more...